Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Okay, guys, so I talked about this book back in March, where I unashamedly confessed my undying adoration for this series.

Well, guess what?

I finished the third and final book of the series, and I’m here to tell you all about it! You can read my spoiler-free review below! (And swoon with me, please!)

The Winner's Kiss

Title: The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release date: March 29, 2016
Length: 496 pages (US hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Synopsis: (taken from Goodreads) “War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?”


First off:


That was me throughout the majority of book. Everything made me have a ridiculous amount of feels. Every chapter, every time Arin thought of Kestrel or vice versa.

One word: Perfection.

Series finales are hard, guys. Seriously. I’ve read some horrible ones (*coughAllegiantcough*) and some mediocre ones, but The Winner’s Kiss surpasses them all. Truthfully, I expected nothing less from Rutkoski. The first two books in the series were fantastic and just as beautifully romantic and heart-wrenchingly lovely. This book was over 400 pages long, and I just wanted more. I needed more, not because things didn’t resolve–because they did–but because I didn’t want it to end.

Arin and Kestrel are forever my OTP. #foreverlove

What’s brilliant is that no character was left untouched or unexplored. Rutkoski made me hate and love her secondary characters at the same time. I didn’t even mind the alternative POVs because I really needed them. I needed to feel and hear the heartbreak Arin went through when he found out what happened to Kestrel; I needed to be with Kestrel as she struggled internally with her relationship with her father. I needed to be with Arin and Kestrel as they figured out their feelings for one another once more and when they embraced them wholeheartedly and unabashedly.

If you loved The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime, I promise you will not be disappointed. There’s nothing I disliked about this book. I loved everything about it.

Now I’m off to find lovely edits and fill my playlist with a bunch of songs that remind me of the series. 🙂 (Also to probably weep in a corner because this series in over now. Do you think I could convince Marie to just keep writing about Arin and Kestrel forever? 😀 I mean, Roshar did make an off-hand innuendo and I seriously need that explored or else fanfiction from me will ensue.)


3 thoughts on “Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

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